Saturday, July 13, 2013

What is your Desire?

“Cheshire Puss, would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”  

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don't much care where,” said Alice.

“Then it doesn't matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

~Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“What is your Desire?”  I used to think this question sounded like a genie-in-a-lamp thing.  I thought the counsel and promise to “…Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” was only true in fairy tales (Luke 11:19).  And heaven knew I was way past the princess and the knight in shining armor stage.  Discovering that making my wishes come true started with identifying what it is that I truly wanted changed my entire way of thinking. From then on, instead of looking at my Desire as a wish, a pie in the sky, a golden ticket, I began to seriously contemplate embarking on a real journey to obtain it.

So what did I want? What was I always hankering for and why? What did I want to do with the time that has been allotted to me? Why did I always feel spiritually or emotionally hungry?  Even if I feared my Desires were not the best, I needed to at least acknowledge them to start and then the refining could begin.

Refiner's Fire by Mark Lawence
Where do Desires come from?
I have noticed Desires arise in me through my interactions with others--those who depend upon me and those I depend upon.  From feeling the constant pull of a deep rooted need I can't even name to encountering major conflicts with my kids that I don’t know how to resolve, Desire has always seemed to be an inherent part of my life.

Newton's Law of Motion
"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."  So in a sense, I'm an object at rest and because there are forces out their acting upon me, I have desires.  But I use my agency to choose which ones I will act upon--accept and strive to obtain--and which ones I will not.  I describe who I am by these choices.

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility." ~2 Nephi 2:11

What Are My Thoughts, Words, and Actions Communicating?
I recognize that I communicate what my Desire is not only by my words but also by my thoughts and actions.  So the question becomes:  Is the Desire that my thoughts, words, and actions communicate the one I really want to obtain? 

Because I have been given the agency to choose what I will desire, I am therefore responsible for where I end up.  That makes this question,  “What is your Desire?” pretty crucial.  If I don’t actively choose my answers and make sure my thoughts and actions are in alignment with it, then I might end up in a place I never really wanted to be.

How do I know my Desire is right?
The act of desiring can veer off into demanding.  I know when I’m leaning to that direction when I begin to feel obsessive about my Desires.

Desiring can also veer off to the other side of the balance.  This is when I regard my Desire as only a wish and do little of myself to obtain it.  Apathy warns me when I’m deviating into that state.
I can't believe that Desire does not include an element of passion and single-mindedness.  I think it does.  I can't believe that it does not include an element of destiny and a reliance on a power greater than myself.  I think it does.  But I do believe that Desire without passion and a single-minded effort to obtain is more like wishing.  And Desire without a sense that there are greater purposes at work here than what I can presently understand is more like obsession.  I can feel when I'm balanced because I'm hopeful, motivated, and confident.

I have come to believe that we can obtain anything that we desire as long as we find the balance in our Desire Obtainment Process.

For with God nothing shall be impossible. ~Luke 1:37
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“I have chosen to talk about the importance of desire. I hope each of us will search our hearts to determine what we really desire and how we rank our most important desires.  Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.” ~"Desire" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2011 General Conference